CINCINNATI -- A long-awaited moment for many up-and-coming prospects is the day they are added to the 40-man Major League roster. That day came on Friday for seven Reds Minor Leaguers, including outfielder Jesse Winker.
Along with Winker, right-handers Barrett Astin, Keury Mella, Jackson Stephens and Nick Travieso and outfielders Aristides Aquino and Phillip Ervin were also protected from the Rule 5 Draft.
The additions give the Reds a full 40-man roster.
Rated as the organization's third-ranked prospect by MLBPipeline.com, the 23-year-old Winker batted .303/.397/.384 with three home runs and 45 RBIs in 106 games for Triple-A Louisville last season.
Mella, 23, is the No. 9 prospect and went 8-9 with a 3.90 ERA in 25 games (24 starts) for Class A Advanced Daytona. Over 131 2/3 innings, he allowed 150 hits and 56 walks while striking out 95. Mella, who was acquired with Adam Duvall from the Giants in the 2015 trade for Mike Leake, also made one start for Louisville to end '16.
Travieso, who turns 23 on Jan. 31, was Cincinnati's first-round Draft pick in 2012 and is ranked as its No. 16 prospect. In 23 starts for Double-A Pensacola, he posted a 5-7 record with a 3.84 ERA, permitting 109 hits and 53 walks with 91 strikeouts over 117 1/3 innings.
A first-rounder in 2013 and the Reds' No. 17 prospect, the 24-year-old Ervin hit .239/.362/.399 with 13 homers and 45 RBIs at Pensacola in 123 games.
Aquino, 22, batted .273/.327/.519 with 23 homers and 79 RBIs over 125 games at Daytona. He is the system's No. 21 prospect.
Astin, 25, went 9-3 with a 2.26 ERA in 37 games (11 starts) for Pensacola. He allowed 74 hits and 25 walks with 96 strikeouts over 103 1/3 innings. Astin played in the Arizona Fall League.
Stephens, 22, compiled an 8-11 record with a 3.33 ERA in 27 games (26 starts) for Pensacola. In 151 1/3 innings, he gave up 148 hits and 41 walks while striking out 131 batters.
Among eligible players that were left unprotected were three top-30 prospects in Pensacola shortstop Calten Daal (No. 20), Pensacola third baseman Eric Jagielo (No. 25) and right-hander Jon Moscot (No. 29), who is recovering from Tommy John surgery.
Other notable prospects at Pensacola not added were shortstop Zach Vincej, catcher/first baseman Chad Wallach, second baseman Brandon Dixon, right-hander Evan Mitchell and left-hander Nick Routt. Left unprotected from Louisville's roster were southpaw Ismael Guillon and third baseman Seth Mejias-Brean.
Friday was the deadline to protect players on the 40-man roster from next month's Rule 5 Draft. Those eligible for the Rule 5 Draft include anyone not on the 40-man roster who was signed as an 18-year-old in 2012 or at 19 years or older in '13.
During the Rule 5 Draft, teams can select unprotected players for $50,000, and they must stay on the Major League 25-man roster of their new club for the entire season. If not, they are returned to their original organization for $25,000.
Last year, the Reds did not have any players from their organization selected in the Rule 5 Draft.
Mark Sheldon has covered the Reds for MLB.com since 2006, and previously covered the Twins from 2001-05. Follow him on Twitter @m_sheldon and Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.